Chase Farm – closure plan ‘to turn two thirds away’

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Yesterday’s picket by the North London Council of Action of the Judicial Review hearing into the proposed closure of Chase Farm Hospital A&E department
Yesterday’s picket by the North London Council of Action of the Judicial Review hearing into the proposed closure of Chase Farm Hospital A&E department

THE Judicial Review Hearing into the decision to close the Accident and Emergency Department at Chase Farm Hospital in Enfield continued in the High Court yesterday morning.

Counsel for Enfield Council Andrew Arden QC, referred to the NHS Finance Manual.

He said that it noted that NHS Trusts have a statutory Break Even Duty, Year on Year.

He added: ‘But it provides flexibility in managing income over a rolling three-year period, it can even be a five-year rolling period. You are not saying you have to shut something right away.’

Arden went on to say that a 2006 Minute ‘sets the context for Alberti and Co.’

He pointed to background notes on the A&E that say, ‘two thirds could be treated elsewhere’.

He added: ‘Urgent care centres in the two hospitals were always in the plan from the beginning. They do not cover the extra requirements.’

Speaking about government pledges for money for A&Es this winter Arden said: ‘The point I wish to make is money could be made available.’

Counsel for the Clinical Commissioning Groups at Chase Farm NHS Trust, Neil Garnham QC said, ‘In his letter of the 3rd December (2007), the Secretary of State approved the plans.’

‘Nothing undermined the approach to A&E. The only promise was that the NHS in Barnet and North Middlesex and Community and Primary Care must be able to accommodate patient flow in the case of the closure of Chase Farm A&E.

‘The only condition imposed by the Secretary of State was that the changes accommodate patient flow.

‘These changes have been made,’ he asserted.

He continued to say: ‘The need for these changes is critical. The plans have been tested and retested legally, politically and clinically.’

He said that there have been ‘two referrals to secretaries of state’ and added that the changes were urgent as they will release money for the development of primary care.

The review judgement will be announced next week.